We have a lot to catch up on! I’ve finally gotten all of the weekend’s poems posted, as well as my usual Tuesday 5×500 poem. You can find all of them below.

Friday: “homage to my hips” by Lucille Clifton

Saturday: “Sonnet 43” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sunday: “Hurt Hawks” by Robinson Jeffers

Monday: “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats

Tuesday 5×500: “Blinds” by Brian McGackin

We’ve only got two days left, and I’ve known what tomorrow’s poem was going to be all month, so picking out today’s was difficult. Despite (or perhaps because of) her immense popularity, I haven’t read much Mary Oliver, but I’ve always been a fan of the poem I’ve chosen for today. It takes a familiar subject among poets, ever-lurking death, and finds a way to look at it positively. I used it when I taught middle school and high school students in an after-school poetry/literacy program as a way to demonstrate how high concepts can be made accessible through well-employed imagery. Mostly, though, I appreciate its general lack of gloom.

In poetry, it's dangerous to be popular.

You’re all right with me, Mary.

When Death Comes by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.


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